One of the signs of the “last days” is the disobedience of children to their parents. 2 Tim. 3:2. And do parents realize their responsibility? Many seem to lose sight of the watch-care they should ever have over their children, and suffer them to indulge in evil passions, and to disobey them. They take but little notice of them until their own feelings are raised, and then punish them in anger.
Many parents will have to render an awful account at last for their neglect of their children. They have fostered and cherished their evil tempers by bending to their wishes and will, when the wishes and will of the children should bend to them. They have brought God’s frown upon them and their children by these things. Parents, have you forgotten that which is written in the Holy Word: “He that spareth the rod hateth his son.” Children are left to come up instead of being trained up. The poor little children are thought not to know or understand a correction at ten or twelve months old, and they begin to show stubbornness very young. Parents suffer them to indulge in evil tempers and passions without subduing or correcting them, and by so doing they cherish and nourish these evil passions until they grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength.
The house of God is often desecrated, and the Sabbath violated by Sabbath-believers’ children. In some cases they are even allowed to run about the house, play, talk and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where the saints should worship God in the beauty of holiness. And the place that should be holy, and where a holy stillness should reign, and where there should be perfect order, neatness and humility, is made to be a perfect Babylon, “confusion.” This is enough to bring God’s displeasure and shut his presence from our assemblies. His wrath is kindled for these things, and he will not while these things exist, go out with Israel to battle against their enemies. The enemies of our faith will be suffered to triumph on account of God’s displeasure.
Parents stand in the place of God to their children and they will have to render an account, whether they have been faithful to the little few committed to their trust. Parents, some of you are rearing children to be cut down by the destroying angel, unless you speedily change your course, and be faithful to them. God cannot cover iniquity, even in children. He cannot love unruly children who manifest passion, and he cannot save them in the time of trouble. Will you suffer your children to be lost through your neglect? Unfaithful parents, their blood will be upon you, and is not your salvation doubtful with the blood of your children upon you? children that might have been saved had you filled your place, and done your duty as faithful parents should.
God says: “I know Abraham, that he will command his household after him,” and God gave him the honor of being the father of the faithful. Parents, it is your duty to have your children in perfect subjection, having all their passions and evil tempers subdued. And if children are taken to meeting, they should be made to know, and understand where they are. That they are not at home, but where God meets with his people. And they should be kept quiet and free from all play, and God will turn his face toward you, to meet with you and bless you.
If order is observed in the assemblies of the saints, the truth will have better effect upon all that hear it. A solemnity which is so much needed will be encouraged and there will be power in the truth to stir up the depths of the soul and a death-like stupor will not hang upon those who hear. Believers and unbelievers will be affected. It has seemed evident that in some places the Ark of God was removed from the church, for the holy commandments have been violated and the strength of Israel has been weakened.
Parents, correct your children. Commence while they are young, when impressions can be more easily made, and their evil tempers subdued before they grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength.
You should correct your children in love. Do not let them have their own way until you get angry, and then punish them. Such correction only helps on the evil, instead of remedying it. After you have done your duty faithfully to your children, then carry them to God and ask him to help you. Tell him that you have done your part, and then in faith ask God to do his part, that which you cannot do. Ask him to temper their dispositions, to make them mild and gentle by his Holy Spirit. He will hear you pray. He will love to answer your prayers. Through his Word he has enjoined it upon you to correct your children, to “spare not for their crying,” and his Word is to be heeded in these things.
It certainly must bring God’s displeasure upon parents when they leave him to do what he has left, and commanded them to do. God corrects us when we disobey; and go astray from him; and parents are bound by the word of God to correct their children when they disobey them, and show evil temper. Check the very first manifestation of passion. Break the will, (but do it with feelings of tenderness, and with discretion,) and your children will be far happier for it, and you will be happier. Your effort will be remembered of God, and he that is so particular as to observe the falling of the sparrow; he that noticed and commended Abraham’s faithfulness, will not pass by your efforts. He that never slumbers nor sleeps will be ready to aid you with his Spirit and grace, and will reward your feeble efforts.
Parents, above every thing, take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God’s holy day by playing in the house or out of doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about, and suffer them to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbath-breakers. Your children, that are under your control, should be made to mind you. Your word should be their law. Will not parents wake up to their duty before it shall be too late, and take hold of the work in earnest, redeem the time, and make unsparing efforts to save their children?
Children are the lawful prey of the enemy, because they are not subjects of grace, have not experienced the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus, and the evil angels have access to these children; and some parents are careless and suffer them to work with but little restraint. Parents have a great work to do in this matter, by correcting and subduing their children, and then by bringing them to God and claiming his blessing upon them. By the faithful and untiring efforts of the parents, and the blessing and grace entreated of God upon the children, the power of the evil angels will be broken, a sanctifying influence is shed upon the children, and the powers of darkness must give back.
When the destroying angel was to pass through Egypt, to destroy the first-born of man and beast, Israel was commanded to gather their children and families into their houses with them, and then mark their door-posts with blood, that the destroying angel might pass by their dwellings, and if they failed to go through with this process, there was no difference made between them and the Egyptians.
The destroying angel is soon to go forth again, not to destroy the first-born alone, but “to slay utterly old and young, both men, women and little children” who have not the mark. Parents, if you wish to save your children, separate them from the world, keep them from the company of wicked children; for if you suffer them to go with wicked children, you cannot prevent them from partaking of their wickedness and being corrupted. It is your solemn duty to watch over your children, to choose the society at all times for them. Learn your children to obey you, then can they more easily obey the commandments of God, and yield to his requirements. Don’t let us neglect to pray with, and for our children. He that said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,” will listen to our prayers for them, and the seal, or mark, of believing parents will cover their children, if they are trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Review and Herald
September 19, 1854